A very odd thing has happened, since the end of that very odd trial we all watched; suddenly, all sorts of people have started using an "N" word that you may never have noticed previously outside of this column. It's as if the word has been dormant, for over half a century, and it's "Nullification."
The merchants of evening news and comment could barely bring themselves to utter the other one ("Nigger") even when reporting what that government policeman had been saying on the witness stand, but "Nullification" never got even an oblique reference of any kind... until the last few weeks. Yet now, it's breaking out all over.
Reason is, that the Establishment (which likes to be called "Liberal" but which is actually Fascist) is absolutely furious with what the jury did. All that careful, 9-month manipulation of the Court proceedings, with the ugly little Fuhrman secret being partly suppressed even as the tapes made headlines outside, what did these 12 carefully-chosen puppets do with it all? - they took four hours, and then said "no way." And now, livid that they can do nothing to punish those jurors, they are pouring on them the worst language they can find - they are calling them "nullifiers."
Despite what you and I have seen as very level-headed jurors answering tough questions on nationwide TV to the effect that they took nine months to see every scintilla of evidence, and found it riddled with reasonable doubts - which those spokesladies were not shy to specify - the myth is being spread as fast as they can, that what that jury did was to "nullify the Law"; to say, We don't care whether Simpson did it or not, we don't care what the evidence says, he's Black and so are we and we're going to acquit him. That's what the Establishment wants you and me to believe what happened, and I for one am not buying it. The jurors had no need to nullify any law; the evidence was flawed.
Of course, it's possible that Simpson is a double murderer. I've not fixed an opinion on that, though since the trial I happen to be leaning towards the view that he is not; but what matters is that in this country, nobody should get convicted while reasonable doubt remains, and that jury was entirely correct in finding an amplitude of reasonable doubt. They say race was not a factor, and I believe them; had I been among their number and had I heard that the police, who put together all of the prosecution evidence, were people who routinely manufactured and planted evidence in a variety of cases, I would have voted for acquittal no matter how strong that case appeared. In fact, I would have been horrified when the judge even allowed the trial to continue.
But now, they are being called Nullifiers. Let's look closely at that "N" Word.
What it Means
The angry accusers are about right in the way they define Nullification: it's what a jury does, when it finds that the accused may have broken some law but deliberately acquits him anyway; the jurors are declaring (in their sovereign right as judges) that they are rejecting the law, as it stands and applies to the case in question. That's what nullification is. It's a subset of Us the People, to whom the government is subject, over-ruling the laws it wrote.
A week or so ago there was another case, in New York City, in which an all-black jury acquitted a black defendent whom the Establishment all thought was guilty as sin, and a judge was shown on TV hopping up and down with anger and saying that if someone wants to change the law they should run for office and get themselves elected and persuade a legislature to do the job.
Sure; a process that takes several lifetimes, as Hizzoner knew perfectly well. Jury Nullification is far quicker, and if he was not so jealous of losing even an iota of his pompous power, he would have admitted that overturning unjust or inapplicable laws is an integral part of what juries have always been empowered to do, ever since they first formally appeared in medieval England.
Perhaps the most useful recent contribution jury nullification has made to American society has been to nullify the anti-drug laws in the 1920s. In case after case, juries heard the evidence, saw the accused was certainly guilty (of running Scotch, or whatever) and set him free anyway; saying, in effect, It's about time you silly people repealed the prohibition.
Now, they could do that only one case at a time. But when a whole series of cases went down in defeat to the nullifiers, the government people got antsy and joined the call for Repeal, which was happily enacted in 1933; if it had not been, the country would have continued under the absurdity of an inoperable and unenforcible raft of laws and who knows what ridicule might then have been poured upon others, for example draft laws and tax laws. They had no choice; a handful of jury nullifiers had won. What a truly marvellous achievement. No wonder the power elite wants so badly to make "nullification" a dirty word.
Well, I'm here to make it as clean a word as I can. If ever you get called to jury duty and in your conscience believe the accused has done nobody any harm, I'm encouraging you stubbornly and immovably to vote to acquit, no matter what the law is said to say and no matter what the evidence is. Even if the other 11 will not join you, do it anyway; the worst that can happen is a mistrial, and prosecutors are often wary about trying a case twice.
There's one problem we'd face; right at the start all juries are asked to swear that they will not do that; that they will obey the judge in respect of the law, that they will judge only the "facts", not the law itself. A brutal, naked attempt to prevent jury nullification, and when you see that item on the Questionnaire, or hear it from Hizzoner, you now know why it's there.
Well, if your child's life was at stake, you'd tell a lie, right? - and in all of the government's courtrooms, someone else's child's life IS at stake. So, go ahead and lie. Falsely tell them you'll keep their rules, and then do what is right, instead. It's the only just and honorable course available.
|© Copyright Jim Davies 1999|
Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.
The above is Edition # 129
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